After a bus carrying Polish pilgrims crashed off a northern Croatia highway, at least 12 people were killed and 31 others were injured,
18 of the 31 injured suffered severe injuries when the bus collided with the A4 highway at Podvorec. It is about 30 miles (50km), north of capital Zagreb.
According to HRT, the most likely cause of the accident was driver falling asleep.
A spokesperson for the Polish foreign ministry stated that all victims were Polish citizens and could confirm this to TVN24.
“The bus is registered in Warsaw.”
According to Croatian interior minister Davor Bolinovic, the passengers were traveling to Medjugorje (a Roman Catholic shrine in south Bosnia), he said.
According to a spokesperson from Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, officials from the Polish Embassy in Croatia were seen arriving on the scene this morning.
Police said that emergency services were called in to assist the victims of the accident, which occurred at 5.40am close to Breznicki Hum. They are now heading towards Zagreb.
Investigating the cause of the crash is currently underway.
To allow passengers to be saved, the road section near the scene was closed to traffic.
Medjugorje is believed to be the location of several apparitions of Virgin Mary. It was first seen by six children in 1981.
This shrine is located 12 miles (20 km) east of the Croatian border. It is Europe’s third-most popular pilgrimage destination, after Lourdes in France and Fatima, Portugal.
Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish Prime Minister, stated that he had spoken with Andrej Plenkovic, his counterpart in Croatia, and was assured of the “full support” of Croatian medical professionals.
Gordan Grlic Radman (Croatian minister of European and foreign affairs) expressed condolences for the victims and wished them a speedy recovery.
He tweeted, “The Croatian people stand with Poland and its citizens.”
Zbigniew Rau from Poland also expressed sorrow and thanked the Croatian public and state services for their assistance.